March 10

Psalm 87; Psalm 90; Psalm 136; Genesis 47:27—48:7;
1 Corinthians 10:1-13
; Mark 7:1-23

“God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan,
and he blessed me. . . . “ 
Genesis 48:3

In today’s Genesis reading, Jacob blesses his grandsons, Joseph’s sons. I really love how often blessing happens in the Old Testament. Maybe we should revive this practice today! For starters, it’s making me think more deeply about the blessings my family does say every day, the blessings before meals.

In my family’s life, with two young kids at the table, our table blessings tend to be more silly than reverent – but I don’t think God minds! We have several variations. The simple “Dear God, we thank you for this food…”; the sung round “Thank you Father” (Frere Jacques); and the one that really gets my kids laughing, the Johnny Appleseed song:

O, the Lord’s been good to me, and so I thank the Lord for giving me the things I need, the sun and the rain and the appleseed, the Lord’s been good to me. AMEN!

Sometimes we substitute a food we’re eating for “appleseed” – “the sun and the rain and the chick-peas…” The beautiful thing about this practice isn’t just that we’re thanking God, or that we’re teaching the children about gratitude, though that’s important; what makes it holy for me is that for one moment, as a whole family, we stop, we notice what’s in front of us, and we take the time to just be together. Instead of the habitual rush to the next thing, we’re there in the present moment, and we recognize it for the wonder that it is. What a blessing!

I hope that this Lent will be a time to stop and bless more often, to be more alive to all the wonderful, sacred moments that come.